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In 1908, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority became America's first Greek-letter organization established by Black college women. Her roots date back to Howard University, Washington, D.C., where the idea for formation was conceived by Ethel Hedgemon Lyle of St. Louis, Missouri. She viewed the Sorority as an instrument for enriching the social and intellectual aspects of college life by providing mental stimulation through interaction with friends and associates. Through the years, however, Alpha Kappa Alpha's function has become more complex. After her incorporation as a perpetual body in 1913, Alpha Kappa Alpha gradually branched out and became the channel through which selected, college-trained women improved the socioeconomic conditions in their city, state, nation, and the world.


Alpha Kappa Alpha is a sisterhood composed of women who have consciously chosen this affiliation as a means of self-fulfillment through volunteer service. Alpha Kappa Alpha cultivates and encourages high scholastic and ethical standards; promotes unity and friendship among college women; alleviates problems concerning girls and women; maintains a progressive interest in college life; and serves all mankind through a nucleus of more than 170,000 women in the United States, the Caribbean, Europe, and Africa.

The Pearls of Our Sorority


The nine Howard University students who were led by Ethel Hedgemon Lyle into a sisterhood in 1908, Nellie Quander and her gallant group who contributed the added dimension of a national organization and perpetual membership, and those who have come after them, the never-ending stream of eternally young, hopeful enthusiastic women, must be remembered.


The Original Group

Ethel Hedgemon Lyle, Anna E. Brown, Beulah E. Burke, Lillie Burke, Marjorie Hill, Margaret Flagg Holmes, Lavinia Norman, Lucy D. Slowe, and Marie Woolfolk Taylor.





The Sophomores of 1908

Norma Boyd, Ethel J. Mowbray, Alice P. Murray, Sarah M. Nutter, Joanna B. Shields, Carrie E. Snowden, and Harriett J. Terry.


The Incorporators

Norma Boyd, Julia E. Brooks, Ethel Jones Mowbray, Nellie M. Quander, Nellie Pratt Russell,

and Minnie B. Smith.

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